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Fall Sports Preview: Poth Pirates seen as the team to beat this season

Fall Sports Preview: Poth Pirates seen as the team to beat this season
Pirate Head Coach Andrew King gives direction to his defense during the first morning of August two-a-day practices.

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Wilson County News
August 29, 2012
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POTH -- The team certainly has some major holes to fill in 2012, but with the pool of talented athletes in Poth, the Pirate football team is the team to beat in District 15-2A DII this year.

The Pirates impressed last season with a perfect regular season mark of 10-0, including a perfect district run of 6-0. The team advanced to the regional semifinal, and ended the year with an overall record of 11-1.

Head Coach Andrew King said he doesn’t have any major changes planned for the team this year, and said the Pirates will continue to “do the same things and get better at them.”

The team lost several players to graduation, but will return four starters on each side of the ball.

On offense, the Pirates will rely heavily on senior running back Phillip Garza. Garza is a four-year starter for Poth, and King said he is going to need Garza to “carry the load.”

“We need him to be a leader for us, to take pressure off younger guys,” King said. “There will be a lot on his shoulders. He knows it.”

Fellow senior Zach Lyssy also will step into a greater role this season, as he moves from fullback to quarterback. Lyssy is another four-year starter for Poth who knows the system and knows what to do. Playing quarterback will be a bit different for him, but King has confidence in his athleticism and decision-making ability.

“He knows what to do. He knows what we want done,” King said.

With Zach moving over to quarterback, junior Blake Lyssy will fill in at fullback, a position King identified as being very important to the offense his team runs. Senior lineman Craig Kilgore will also be returning in a starting role, and King said it will be his responsibility to solidify the front line.

On the defensive side of things, King feels as though the team’s greatest strength will be in its secondary, as Blake Lyssy, Phillip Garza, and Zach Lyssy will play both ways. King said they provide the Pirates with a great deal of speed and experience. In addition, King expects a big year from Matt Zavala, Trey Stone, and Jerrek Hosek.

“It’s time for them to step up,” he said.

In terms of the team’s district, there have been a few changes this season. Poth will continue its rivalries with Stockdale and Karnes City, and also will face the teams from Nixon-Smiley, Dilley, Cotulla, Natalia, and Bloomington. Because of the eight-team district, the Pirates will only have three non-district games to iron out any wrinkles, and King knows that adds a bit more pressure.

To help prepare them, the Pirates will play a strong non-district lineup that includes Marion, Falls City, and Cole. King likes having a strong schedule, and is happy with the teams Poth will face early this year.

“When you play good people, it tells you what you really have,” King said. “It will be an early test for our team.”

There are a lot of new faces wearing varsity uniforms this year, but King said those players know what it takes to get there, and are working hard to make the team better. His players believe in what they are doing in Poth, and King said they trust the system. King believes that will prove to be one of the team’s strengths this season. On the other hand, the team’s overall lack of experience could be an issue, and King admitted he has some players who will have to “grow up quick.”

After a run of recent district titles, the Pirates certainly have a target on their backs, but King isn’t giving it too much thought at this point.

“We have got to work for everything,” King said. “All we can really do is focus on ourselves. If we can do that, we will be OK.”

The Pirates open their 2012 season on the road against Marion. The team will then host its home opener Friday, Sept. 7, as the Falls City Beavers travel into Poth.

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